A couple of weeks ago I posted about my failed attempt to participate in NaNoWriMo and how I decided to become a NaNoRebel and do NaBloPoMo instead. Given that we are more than half way through November, I thought I would give you an update as to how I’ve fared and what I’ve learned so far. Because I had specific goal in mind when I did my about-face, I’m pleased to report that this exercise has been very successful. You can read all the stuff I’ve been writing over at Delicious Scribblings.
I’ve gotten back into the habit of writing creatively
As you may recall, I started this exercise with the express intent of rebuilding my creative writing muscle. I knew that if I wrote every day, it would come back, and it has. Just the act of having to post (because I committed to doing so publicly) has been just the incentive I’ve needed. I’m a firm believer that one shouldn’t wait for the muse to strike. If one waits, one will do a lot of waiting and not much writing. The muse must be able to be summoned at will, and this happens through cultivating a writing habit. If I learned nothing else from running, I learned this: if I wait for the motivation to run, I’d still be sitting on the couch. The key to successful running is to develop a habit which overrides the urge to do nothing. Writing is the same.
I’m not stuck for things to write about
This surprised me, because I abandoned this year’s NaNoWriMo when I thought I had nothing to write about. Maybe it was because I subconsciously thought my idea needed more plotting or planning, or – worse! – that idea was rubbish in the first place, that the words just didn’t seem to come. Once I freed myself from the expectation – albeit created by myself! – of having to write 50,000 words in November – eek! – the words flowed. And the ideas for what to write about just kept coming. My inspiration was the everyday occurrences that dot our days and nights: going for a run, working late, summer flowers, summer days, a TV crush I developed, dining alone, road kill, even (my) death. The well is certainly not dry!
What I’m writing about has changed
When I started this process, all I really wanted to do was write. I really didn’t care what I wrote about. In the first week or two, I wrote about conversations I had, dreams I remembered, descriptions of things I experienced and saw. Some pieces were much shorter than others – depending on the amount of time I had to write them – and they were self-contained. About half way through last week, I noticed that what I was writing could very easily be turned into a short stories. They were written from different points of view and perspectives. Characters started to emerge. Names. In fact, the piece I wrote last night – Wanna Come With? – is definitely the start of something more, and I will develop it over the next few posts and see where it goes.
I’m thinking about writing ALL THE TIME
I’m obsessed with writing now. I think about it All. The. Time. I run, and my mind turns to my next NaBloPoMo post and a possible opening sentence. I’m on the bus, and I write. I’m in a work meeting and I’m nodding and smiling and agreeing, but I’ve really zoned out, concentrating on a tricky segue. I’m in bed watching True Blood (for example) and I’m thinking about adding to the journal entry I started earlier that day on the bus. Actually, I don’t think about adding to the journal entry, I actually do it. I pause the shenanigans of vampires and faeries and werewolves and mediums and shifters and mere mortals and write. And then I edit what I’ve written and change it and mold it and post it to the blog. I must post to my blog!
I’m keen to finish projects I started YEARS ago
I have a graveyard of unfinished short stories and novellas and screenplays rotting in my Dropbox. And in my Google Drive. Once NoBloPoMo is done and dusted, I will focus my energies on completing a creative project (other than Love & Other Stuff, of course). I’m super keen to write and compile and publish a bunch of short stories, and then I have a one particular novel that I started working on probably 10 years ago that I’d like to finish. And a screenplay that I did finish that I’d like to rewrite as a novel. I will definitely keep publishing to the Delicious Scribblings blog, even if it’s just excerpts or passages of things I’m working on. I’ve certainly picked up new subscribers and my stats are looking good, so I’d hate to stop posting just because NaBloPoMo is finished.
I know there is a lot of hype and skepticism around NaNoWriMo, but if you set realistic goals about what you can and want to achieve, it’s a brilliant exercise to undertake and you can absolutely make it work for you. And if you’ve missed out this year, NaNoWriMo is not limited to November. Choose a month and get started. Do it!